Francis Matthew was the editor-at-large of Gulf News.
PHOTO BY ARCHIVE
DUBAI – A British former newspaper editor who beat his wife to death with a hammer may only serve two years in jail after being sentenced to 15.
In a recent hearing, lawyer Ali Al Shami told judges that private charges against Francis Matthew have now been dropped after his father-in-law died in March.
The father of the victim, Jane Matthew, had refused to drop criminal charges against Matthew. His death meant the end to private charges against Matthew, whose son had already signed a waiver dropping all charges against him.
Matthew had told police on July 4, 2017 that his wife was murdered by burglars in their 3-bedroom Jumeirah villa. Police found her dead with a severe head wound in the couple’s bed. Investigation later revealed that he had staged the crime scene.
Matthew later admitted killing his wife after an altercation over finances. The former editor-at-large of Gulf News went on trial in 2017, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison for physical assault leading to death.
He appealed the verdict, and lost, given a longer sentence of 15 years in jail in October 2018. His lawyer, arguing that there was insufficient evidence to show that Matthew intended to kill his wife, challenged the verdict at the Court of Cassation, which ordered that the case be heard by a new panel of appeal judges.
At the Dubai Court of Appeal on Wednesday (July 3), lawyer Ali Al Shamsi said all private charges against Matthew no longer apply after his father-in-law died in March.
Al Shamsi said that the right of the victim’s legal successor against Matthew no longer applies because of the death of Jane’s father.
This means that the court will be imposing a shorter jail term on Matthew, who will be deported after serving his jail term.
Matthew’s second lawyer, Musaab Al Naqbi, said that based on the public right of the law, Matthew may be sentenced to “up to two years” in jail because the legal heir of the victim has waived his private right in the criminal case. Al Naqbi, however, said that the sentence is up to the court’s discretion. The hearing resumes on September 4. ICA/Expat Media
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